The Game Based Approach was introduced to teachers in Singapore in 1999 by Dr Steve Mitchell and Dr Judith Oslin. This was in response to the Ministry of Education’s focus to develop students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills to prepare them to face the challenges in a VUCA world. The Games Concept Approach, Singapore’s version of Game Based Approach, was taught to all Pre-service teachers from the year 2000. PE teachers in Singapore are, thus, familiar with game based approach.
The Physical Education and Sports Teacher Academy (PESTA), the professional development (PD) section in the Ministry of Education that looks after the PD for PE teachers, conducts workshops on Game Based Approach yearly for teachers. PESTA has also engaged the expertise of Dr Tim Hopper, Dr Steve Mitchell and Dr Linda Griffin over the past 4 years to conduct master classes for teachers.
PESTA also collaborates with teachers on action research on Game Based Approach. Over the past few years, studies that were done include: How questioning can be done more effectively to promote critical thinking and engage students in learning; pre-requisites of effective game based teaching; Use of Tim Hopper’s 4R to make games playable; and how empowering students to change the game rules (modification by adaptation) promotes engagement.
This year, studies were done to examine the potential of the Inventing Games Model by Joy Butler, and the use of technology to teach games concepts. The latter study used the thinking routine of See, Think, Wonder to guide students to read and respond to the environmental cues during gameplay. The findings were shared at local conferences and was very well-received by teachers. We are looking forward to sharing our learning with the international community.
In addition to the workshops and action research done in schools, PESTA also started a community of practice (CoP) for practitioners of Game Based Approach. The group meets 2-3 times a year to share experiences and discuss research findings and issues related to game based approach.